By Brady Johnson
UO Athletic Communications
EUGENE, Ore. – Every statistic available indicated a historic fall season for the No. 17 Oregon women’s golf team.
Through five fall tournaments, the Ducks tallied a 295.4 round average - nearly a full four strokes lower than the full-season program record. Oregon placed in the top six in every single event, tallied a win-loss record of 50-17 and had three student-athletes with stroke averages below 73.6 – all of which would be in the top five in program history if final.
Yet, for as good as the Ducks could be feeling heading into the offseason, Oregon is ready to turn its back on its successes and focus on the next shot. Such is the acquired motto for head coach Ria Scott’s Ducks, who are setting lofty goals for the spring season.
“We’ve learned this lesson (peaking at the right time) the past few seasons – especially last year, when we didn’t have a good regular season but advanced to the NCAAs,” said Scott. “It’s all about how you are performing in May. That’s taught us some great lessons in the past – just stay focused on the next shot and never give up.”
Despite climbing to No. 17 in the latest Golfstat.com rankings, only five off its all-time highest, the Ducks aren’t willing to rest on their fall laurels. With bigger aspirations on its mind – NCAA qualification – Oregon is ready to re-focus on offseason training.
Oregon closed the fall season Nov. 4-5, placing fifth at the loaded Pac-12 Preview. Since then, the Ducks have entered the NCAA allotted eight hour work weeks. The players have an amped up workout schedule, individual priority plans and a lot of self-practice. With a team that is loaded with not only talent, but leadership, Scott knows her team will be working hard through the offseason.
“I don’t have to worry much about this group,” said Scott. “I know they’ll work hard and get the job done. They all trust each other.”
Oregon opens the fall season on Feb. 15-16 at the Peg Barnard Collegiate in Stanford, Calif. The Ducks’ ultimate goal for the spring will be to continue posting steady team scores, peak at the right rime and reach the NCAA Championships for the third time in the Scott era.
Granted, there’s still a lot of golf to be played before then, but the Ducks should be feeling confident after climbing all the way to No. 17 in the Golfstat rankings over the fall. Oregon was a marvel of consistency throughout the season, posting quality numbers each time out.
The Ducks placed fifth at the Mary Fossum Invitational (908/+44), runner-up at the UNM Dick McGuire Invitational (877/+1), fourth at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational (903/+39), sixth at the Stanford Intercollegiate (863/+11) and fifth at the Pac-12 Preview (881/+5).
Oregon had an average counting score of 73.85, twice set a program record for lowest team round score vs. par and averaged below par on par-five scoring (4.95) as a team. Oregon’s fall round average of 295.4 is 3.8 strokes better than the overall program record of 299.30 set in the 2011-12 season.
“I told our team this fall that I’ve never seen more rounds grinded out than I have in the past few months,” said Scott. “They played with their hearts on their sleeves and grinded out scores every time out. It was an incredible effort every single round this fall.”
The Ducks were led by a three-headed monster in front of its lineup this season in junior Cassy Isagawa, sophomore Caroline Inglis and freshman Cathleen Santoso. The trio played a team-high 15 rounds this fall with scoring averages below 73.53.
Isagawa led the way as the returning two-time All-Pac-12 selection posted a team-low round average of 72.33 – which is lower than the UO full-season record she set two seasons ago. Isagawa carded seven rounds at or below par. She won the Dick McGuire Invitational, placed third at the Pac-12 Preview and seventh at the Mary Fossum Invitational.
In five tournaments, Inglis’ lowest three-round score was 218 while her highest was 222, as the consistent sophomore carded a 73.46 round average. Her fall season was highlighted by a pair of top-five finishes.
Santoso opened her collegiate career in spectacular form, placing in the top 20 of every event this fall – the only Duck to do so. The Sydney, Australia, native posted a 73.53 stroke average and played seven rounds at or below par.
While having three steady scores certainly provides the team’s backbone, Scott said she is perhaps most excited to see development in the rest of the lineup – with players like junior Cali Hipp, freshman Marcella Pranovia, junior Monica Petchakan, senior Raphaela Dyer and freshman Brenna Murphy eager to contribute.
“Yes, we have three girls with 73 scoring averages or so, but we’ve also have girls behind them that haven’t capped into their potential yet,” said Scott. “That might be more exciting than anything else. We know we can be a deeper team than this.”
Oregon won’t play at home in the spring, but will travel to six regular season events before the Pac-12 Championships, which will be held in Corvallis, Ore. The NCAA Championships will be hosted by Tulsa, Okla., at the Tulsa Country Club from May 20-23.
The Ducks are searching for a second-straight NCAA Championship appearance after placing 22nd at the event last year in Athens, Ga.